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Chanukah miracles in the context of the war against Hamas - Chanukah message 5784

Dear friends,

I write these lines while our Homeland, the State of Israel, continues at war against the genocidal terrorism of Hamas.

On that fateful October 7, the State of Israel suffered the most murderous and brutal expression of Islamic terrorism. Women were raped; babies were burned in ovens; young people celebrating a festival for Nature and Peace were abused, shot, burned alive; people of all ages were beheaded... In just hours, more than 1,200 people were murdered in a collective massacre celebrated by its perpetrators, who bore witness to their barbarity in thousands of video recordings that prove the war crimes they committed. These same murderers have already launched more than 10,000 missiles against the civilian population of the State of Israel, with the genocidal objective of achieving what Hamas proposes in its founding charter: erasing the Jewish presence in the Middle East; reaching that aspiration they shout in the marches they organize with their BDS partners: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free…” – from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, we will murder every Jew, freeing the Middle East of infidels. Infidels: Jews, Christians, Muslims – the majority who are not radical… all those who are not Islamists.

On Simchat Torah, also Shabbat October 7, the murderous, massive and brutal Islamist terrorism of Hamas once again attacked the West, just as Al Qaeda did against the United States on September 11, 2001, and ISIS, the Islamic State, since 2014 against Iraq and then Syria.Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Hizballah, the Houthis and many other terrorist organizations supported by the Islamist Terrorist State of Iran, wage a war against Western Civilization, which is based on the Judeo-Christian values that founded it.

The civilized world understood the imperative need to combat and destroy the threat of the destruction of free democracies. It did it against Nazism, Soviet imperialism, and in recent decades, against anti-Western terrorist Islamism.

Hamas is a twice genocidal movement: against the entire Jewish people, and against its Palestinian population, who are prisoners and at the same time human shields from its attacks.

In the face of this atrocity; in the face of this barbarism, detractors of the State of Israel launched a worldwide campaign to whitewash Hamas' crimes by denying the countless testimonies recorded on cameras, and proclaiming the murderous terrorist organization "fighters for peace and freedom." This generated an uncontained wave of anti-Semitism throughout the world, claiming the lives of Jews and threatening the integration Jews achieved throughout the West.

In this atmosphere of deep pain and sorrow imposed by the atrocities we suffered and the ramping antisemitism everywhere, we are required to celebrate Chanukah: the Maccabi celebration per excellence.It is on Chanukah that we remember how bravely Matitiahu HaCohen and his five sons (Shim'on, Yochanan, Yehuda, Yonathan and El'azar) fought the Seleucids (the Greco-Syrians) who dominated Eretz Israel – and who tried to impose their pagan-Hellenic culture to the Jews as they did to other peoples they conquered. The national memory of the Jewish people includes the perception of two miracles that are linked to these fateful days:

• The miracle of military victory: we read in our Sidurim (our prayer books): “You (God) delivered the strong (the Greeks) into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the just..."For the members of the Jewish People and for our Sages, as expressed in our prayers, the military victory was experienced as a true miracle – a sentiment evoked, too, in some of the victories of the young State of Israel in the past.

• The miracle of Jewish identity: in a shorter period than the Jewish People had to endure under Greek domination, the other nations invaded by the Hellenics lost their own culture and adopted that of their conquerors. The Jewish People, even feeling the temptation of the hedonistic Greek culture, remained faithful to their own heritage, defending it and deepening their commitment to the civilization they created.

What has happened to us as a people inside and outside of Israel in these two very painful months?Immediately after the catastrophe and extreme pain; without denying the necessity and duty of mourning for the murdered and fallen, the State of Israel recorded the largest participation in its very young history of volunteers in the Army – 300,000 men and women of all ages. We went out to fight after the tragedy, the massacre, as Matitiahu and his sons, the Maccabees, did in defense of our lives.

At the same time, in the world, while the BDS movement publicly took off its mask and in gigantic demonstrations publicly shouted its desire to destroy Israel – "We don't want no two States, we want all of it,"the Jewish Communities (along with all democratic forces) took to the streets to demand the right to life, to Jewish continuity, to the defense of individual and national identity.

These are the same challenges of Chanukah, in another context: we fight again for our national life, with the entire civil society in Israel united in the cause of good, of justice... and, once again, we reaffirm our Jewish and national identity, in every corner of the world, with members of our people who have returned to the active ranks of Jewish action when confronted with this new attempt to end the legitimacy of Jewish existence at all levels.

Chanukah is the festival of the light of life, of the recognition of the miracle of our existence and that of our loved ones – those we love and who give meaning to our lives. This Chanukah let's light the 8 candles of miracles, thanking God for being alive, in the search for lives full of meaning, meaning, achievements, love, understanding, joy and good.

May we have a Chanukah of Light – that Light of national miracles.

Chanukah Sameach!

Chazak Ve'ematz!


Deputy Director - General

Maccabi World Union

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